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Bill Bratton Returns as New York City Police Commissioner

Back on the beat in the Big Apple

“You can’t go home again,” has been an American aphorism since author Thomas Wolfe used it as the title of a novel. It’s a phrase that Bill Bratton has decided to ignore, however, as he will be returning to the city where some would say he made his biggest impact. Beginning in early January 2014, he will be returning to New York City as its new Police Commissioner.

Armed with new tactics and focused tenacity, he revamped the city’s police work and force and returned a city many thought was unpoliceable to the place you can truly visit and live in today.

Newly tapped by incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bratton will take over the office he first occupied under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the early 1990s. At that time New York City was a far different place than it is today. With a murder and crime rate that made the Big Apple a place you definitely didn’t want to visit, let alone live in, he had his work cut out for him. Armed with new tactics and focused tenacity, he revamped the city’s police work and force and returned a city many thought was unpoliceable to the place you can truly visit and live in today.

Bill Bratton

Bill Bratton’s appointment to become the next New York City Police Commissioner marks a homecoming of sort for Bratton, who also served as New York City Police Commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the early 1990s. Office of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio photo by Rob Bennett

Bratton is no slouch when it comes to police work either. He’s every bit the beat cop, but he’s also a thinking man’s cop. The author of two books – The Turnaround: How America’s Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic and Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World – he’s held the top spot at leading police forces in Boston and Los Angeles. Following the 2011 riots that rocked London a year prior to the Olympics, he was rumored to be considered for the top cop spot there but ended up staying in the private sector, where he took up residence after leaving as the LAPD Police Chief in 2009.

Media outlets from in New York City, as well as TIME and even Playboy magazine have called him “America’s Top Cop,” and with a resume like his, it’s no wonder he’s earned the title.

Bratton’s unlike so many other people in front of cameras and microphones today – he engages his brain before his mouth – which is probably why he’s been so successful in some of the toughest cities in America.

In late 2011, I had the fortune of sitting down with Bill Bratton in his N.Y. City office at Kroll, one of the world’s leading risk and security consulting companies, where he was serving as Chairman of the Board. For nearly an hour we talked about the lessons learned from leading different police forces around the country as well as the lessons still being learned after the 9/11 attacks. It was a candid, but very thoughtful conversation. Bratton’s unlike so many other people in front of cameras and microphones today – he engages his brain before his mouth – which is probably why he’s been so successful in some of the toughest cities in America.

Bratton is not without his critics, and like everyone else, he’s had his missteps, but nothing has been so catastrophic that his capabilities and capacities to perform have been jeopardized. He takes over a police department that is far different from the one he left, and a city that is in better shape than when he first took over as commissioner. These are good times for the Big Apple, but one thing remains the same – the city that doesn’t sleep is still the number one target that the bad guys, in all of their forms, want to take a shot at.

Bill Bratton

Bill Bratton with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at the press conference announcing his selection as New York City Police Commissioner. Bratton has a reputation for thinking before he speaking when dealing with the press, unlike many other public figures today. Office of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio photo by Rob Bennett

It’s his job to make sure that doesn’t happen, and with him on the job, I’m feeling even better about the Big Apple’s future. America’s top cop is back in its number one city – right where he belongs.

By

Richard “Rich” Cooper is a Principal with Catalyst Partners, LLC, a government and public affairs...